It's not just any small to medium sized public library in the U.S. that can claim to have been the cover story on a national magazine. We're not just any library. And our name isn't actually on the cover of the February issue of School Library Journal (except for the mailing label on the copy that came to us). But we are most definitely the subject of the cover story, specifically our MakerSpace. Karen Jensen's article, "Small Tech, Big Impact: Designing My Maker Space," has put us in the national spotlight. Karen is our teen services librarian and the creator of the Teen Librarian Toolbox, a blog which is also nationally known and within recent memory was elevated to prominence as one of School Library Journal's regular online features. One of Karen's specialties is Big Ideas, one of which was the conversion of our young adult area into our MakerSpace, a place where teens and adults and sometimes even pre-teens with the right supervision can dabble in all kinds of things, such as digital photo editing, stop-motion animation, button-making, cutting out letters and shapes on paper or vinyl with our Silhouette Cameo machine, Lego creations and making robotic and electronic gizmos with Raspberry Pi and Makey Makey. Yes, I don't really know that much about any of these things, but that's the point: You come to the library to learn about them, and our talented, dedicated staff will guide you along the way. So, check out Karen's article (click the title above--it's a hyperlink) and her Teen Librarian Toolbox (ditto), and come on in to the library to check out our MakerSpace. We're not the first to have done it, nor the biggest and probably not even the best-equipped (yet), but we are definitely the only library MakerSpace in the world to have been conceived and established by the creator of Teen Librarian Toolbox. In my book, that's something worth a moment of national notoriety.
The diminutive but useful green screen in our MakerSpace makes stop-motion animation come to life.
Appraiser Andy Richmond begins his evaluation of "Silence."
One of the Library's most prized possessions is a marble statue titled "Silence," sculpted by former Mount Vernon resident Joseph Mozier in Rome in 1859. Fifty years after it was created it was donated to the Library by Mrs. Maria Butler of New York, who had also grown up in Mount Vernon. We were recently asked to consider the possibility of lending the statue to the Ohio History Connection for display at the Ohio State House. One of the first steps in that negotiation is to have the artwork appraised, so we called on a former Library employee, Andy Richmond, who now owns his own appraisal business, Wipiak Consulting & Appraisals. Andy came and spent several hours examining "Silence" and three other objects of artistic, historical and cultural interest that belong to the Library. Most prominent among them is an impressive bronze casting of a piece by Hermon Atkins MacNeil entitled "A Chief of the Multnomah Tribe." The last two objects are less prominent but equally interesting: a hand-drawn watercolor map of the original plat of Mount Vernon from the early 19th century and a ticket to the hanging of Will Bergin on December 7, 1877, the only execution that ever took place in Knox County. Care to guess what any of these items is worth? Stay tuned. We'll be sharing more facts and trivia about each of them in future blog posts. Each one has its own unique and fascinating story, and they all have connections with times, places and people far removed from the present-day Mount Vernon/Knox County community. We'll explore some of these stories in more detail as we continue to probe the histories of the artifacts in our collections.
Back in October our Office Manager, Lisa Blaisdell, embarked on a new adventure in library services and programming: "Sewing with Lisa." The second Monday of every month (which means the next one is February 8!) at either 4 p.m. or 6 p.m. (attendees' choice), people can come in, bring a yard or two of fabric with them, and get expert instruction on how to create wonderful things. This month, naturally, it's a heart pillow. We provide supplies and sewing machines. Lisa provides the expertise and a winning way with people. The program is oriented toward adults, but we've had some youthful attendees, and they've had a great time. So (or should that be "sew"?), if you've ever wanted to learn sewing or master the intricacies of the modern techno-marvel known as the sewing machine, Lisa's your person and the second Monday of every month is your time slot.